There has been great fear attached to hypnosis since it’s formal introduction as a way to treat people who suffer from mental health concerns. Franz Mesmer’s animal magnetism was not the first time hypnosis was used in history. It was however, the first time that it was understood as hypnosis. Hypnosis’s history is full of inconstancies. First if people truly understood hypnosis then they would understand that hypnosis has been around as long as life or breathing itself. Like breathing, hypnosis is an inherent and universal trait that is shared by all human beings. (History of Hypnosis, 2012) It has only been since Mesmer in the eighteenth century that we have started to understand that we have the ability to control our own hypnotic states.
The first issue we will look at that people believe about hypnosis is that it is still seen as part of the occult. Seen as some form of black magic or even an instrument of the devil. We can actually thank Mesmer for this interpretation. According to the History of Hypnosis (2012) the magician look of the big hat and long coat as people on mass are hypnotized can be directly traced to him. Mesmer would have all the subjects tied together by a rope, which he stated the rope would allow him to pass from person to person with his animal magnetism. He would also play ethereal music on his glass harmonica. Mesmer’s flair for theatrics was not only one of the stereotypes we face today, it was also one of the reasons for his down fall.
Since that time the images of the sinister person in the movies commanding large groups, continues to be played out. During the 1880’s and the 1890’s the only place to really find anything on hypnosis was through a company out of Boston Massachusetts called “Occult publishing company”. As time progresses you will always have people who are unwilling to give up on past thoughts. Those that will say “hypnosis is the devils work”. We will always have those that fear what they do not know, those that are unwilling to expand their own universe. However, hypnosis is not the devils work or part of some secret society. If you don’t believe in vampires how can you believe in this?
Another common problem with hypnosis is the idea that someone else has complete control over you as a client or participant. In this case not only does the movies portray this but we can also thank the stage hypnotist, the entertainer. Sure the movies show people doing crazy things, illegal things and some nasty things while under the influence if hypnosis. But, the movies show many things that are not true like kids going into a closet to visit a parallel universe and we have not removed our closets. The stage hypnotist may have another part to play in this. Over the years these shows have become more risqué to the point where they can be adult only and even held as a main draw in Sin City (Las Vegas). We have people being hypnotized to crow like a rooster, perform some form of a partially clothed sex act or even forget their own name. Once they left the stage they can be heard saying, “If it was not for hypnosis, I would never have done that.” This statement is not even partially true. We only do what we want to do while under hypnosis no one can tell you to do anything you don’t want to, what goes against your core values. This is fun entertainment, but should not scare you away from finding a solution to problems by eliminating hypnosis as a solution.
Also according to Ivan Pavlov, famed Russian psychologist famously known for his work with behaviour modification, classical conditioning, and transmarginal inhibition. Pavlov believed that hypnosis reflected a state of cortical inhibition (Edmonston, 1981). Simply put we would do the things asked of us when we act in a way that our inhibitions are removed. Think about vacations when the kids are not around, do you act differently? If you do, does this mean you are hypnotized and not responsible? No, it’s just you can remove your masks, be someone else, or, be exactly who you really are.
Also if hypnosis could make you do all these things, if you are fully under someone else’s control, don’t you think the militaries around the world would be using it to create a group of zombified super soldiers? Or do you think the governments would not be using it themselves or banning its use from the general public? The reason why this has not happened is simple, hypnosis is a tool in which you can resist. And people who resist in the military are not that useful.
Lastly, hypnosis is dangerous. Well yes it can be especially if your operating heavy machinery, driving or holding hundreds of pounds of weights over your head while listening to a hypnosis recording. Under a licensed hypnotherapist danger is the farthest thing from the truth. If you are doing this with someone who learned the craft from a You-Tube video then maybe some self-destructive or harmful thoughts could be introduced for a period of time, that’s why doing your research on support is important.
Ideally under the care of a trained or licensed professional (IMDHA in the U.S. or ARCH in Canada) this should never happen. No matter what the profession there will be people who do bad things. If a banker steals does that mean all banking is bad? When one nurse decides to become an “angel of death” does that destroy the entire nursing profession? It was not the practice of banking or nursing, just like it is not the practice of hypnosis it self, but the person who practiced the profession.
Hypnosis may not be a miracle cure for everyone, however it has helped to many to count. On one extreme of totally dismissing hypnosis as junk science, is short sighted and irresponsible, does it work for you? Who knows until you try. The mental state hypnosis can help you get to, where you are super focused to hypnotic suggestion and learn new behaviours or integrate painful memories, does work. However, like any therapy it requires work on your part and with guidance from a therapist, healer or teacher whatever you want to call them. As effective as it is, you do not achieve miraculous result overnight, or you may be one of the lucky few who does.
Keep Chasing Those Cars
With Love, Respect and Admiration
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